The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

"Financial Inclusion and Women Empowerment" with Chetna Sinha, May 14 @ 4:30 pm

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The empowerment of women in today’s economy has become an important, if not crucial, objective in prompting development and progress. In many countries, women serve critical roles in agricultural and commodity production and in providing familial stability. Giving women the tools they need to succeed could be considered requisite to ensuring the ultimate success of their local communities.

Chetna Sinha, Founder & Chairperson on Mann Deshi Mahila Bank and the Mann Deshi Foundation and Ashoka Fellow, will speak to this topic and her personal experiences in founding a micro-enterprise development bank and in promoting female empowerment in financial affairs.

An economist, farmer, and activist, Chetna Sinha works for social change in some of the poorest and most drought-stricken areas of rural India. She is the founder and president of the Mann Deshi Mahila Bank, a micro-enterprise development bank. The Bank's clients are low-income women with incomes averaging INR 40 (USD 1.00) per day. The Bank currently has seven branches, more than 185,000 clients, and conducts 10,000 transactions daily.

Because of the Bank's success, Chetna's advice on financial inclusion and women's banking has been sought by the Federal Reserve Bank of India. Through the Mann Deshi Bank and its non-profit sister organization, the Mann Deshi Foundation, Chetna uses a holistic approach to help her clients – one that combines economic activity with the educational tools and health care necessary to lead a productive life. Since 2006, Chetna has partnered with global organizations such as HSBC, British Asia Trust, Accenture, the Clinton Global Initiative, GIZ, Deutsche Bank, Bonita Trust, the Commonwealth of Learning and Global Giving to develop corporate community partnership programs which allow the corporate sector in the U.S. and Europe to gain a unique view of the impact that micro-finance initiatives have on the local rural population.

Chetna Sinha was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 for India by Palaniappan Chidambaram, Finance Minister of India on November 11, 2013. She has been honored with the 2005 Jankidevi Bajaj Puraskar award for rural entrepreneurship. She has also been awarded lifetime membership with Ashoka Innovators for the Public, and was selected for the first class of Yale University's World Fellows program in 2002-2003.

Please join us for the Portman Lecture in the Spirit of Entrepreneurship entitled “Financial Inclusion and Women Empowerment” with Chetna Sinha at Rocky 3 at 4:30 pm on May 14, 2014.

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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences